The Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), a part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, will run the new £8.9m Lightweight Manufacturing Centre following an announcement by the Scottish Government.

Announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the Centre will support highly-skilled jobs and give Scotland a competitive edge in manufacturing processes for materials such as titanium and carbon fibre. The Centre is a first step towards creating a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland.

The Centre, to be set up in Renfrew, will produce lightweight materials which are increasingly being used in the aerospace, automotive, oil & gas and renewables industries to increase efficiency and performance and help reduce carbon emissions.

Speaking to an audience of 75 companies at the AFRC, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“A vibrant and innovative manufacturing base is critical to Scotland’s economic success and to creating skilled employment opportunities for the future.

“The Lightweight Manufacturing Centre will help Scottish businesses take advantage of the fact that sectors such as aerospace and the automotive industry are making more and more use of lightweight materials. It will deliver cutting edge research and development projects with and for companies in Scotland.

“Scotland enjoys resources few nations can match, including one of the most highly-educated workforces in Europe, a long-standing reputation for excellence in innovation and engineering and an internationally-regarded brand.

“The Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to support growth in the Scottish economy, including the Small Business Bonus taking 100,000 business premises out of rates altogether, investing in our £6 billion infrastructure plan and delivering £200m of investment through the Scottish-European Growth Co-investment Programme – the first tranche of investment through the Scottish Growth Scheme.”

Funding for the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre will consist of £3.9m from the Scottish Government, £3.4m from Scottish Enterprise and £1.6m from the Advanced Forming Research Centre.

The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre is a globally-recognised centre of excellence in innovative manufacturing technologies, R&D, and metal forming and forging research. The £60 million facility was established in 2009 with 12 members of staff. It now employs 133 highly skilled engineers, researchers and business professionals.

The National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland is being developed by the Scottish Government and Strathclyde University, in association with the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering, Enterprise agencies, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council and the private sector.